JULY 2007

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30th July 2007 : New research

The assessment of Mirapex  (a dopamine agonist)   

Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology [2007] 37 (6) : 539-546 (Fedorova NV, Chigir' IP.) Complete abstract

Mirapex is a dopamine agonist that has been used for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. A review of the medical literature concerning dopamine agonists was carried out a alongside an assessment of Mirapex concerning its efficacy in Parkinson's Disease. Improvements were demonstrated in general state, motor activity, daily activities, and the quality of life. There was a decrease in the severity of motor fluctuations and dyskinesias and in anxiety and depression, and to improvements in cognitive functions. The conclusions were that Mirapex was effective and well tolerated. However, the study was not long term. Mirapex is a dopamine agonist. The long term use of dopamine agonists is known to make the dopamine receptors less sensitive. This is the exact opposite effect of what is intended when dopamine agonists are used. For more information on Mirapex


28th July 2007 : New research

The newly discovered cause of Dyskinesia    

Brain [2007] 130 (Pt 7) : 1819-1833 (Carta M, Carlsson T, Kirik D, Bjorklund A.) Complete abstract

In patients with Parkinson's disease, the therapeutic efficacy of L-DOPA medication is gradually lost over time, and abnormal involuntary movements, dyskinesias, gradually emerge as a prominent side-effect in response to previously beneficial doses of the drug. Dyskinesia was thought to be due to too much L-dopa. However, this study showed that it is a combination of L-dopa and too much serotonin that leads to dyskinesia. They did this by blocking the formation of serotonin. Dyskinesia came to a halt. Drugs that could lower serotonin levels could therefore rid dyskinesia without reducing the beneficial effect of L-dopa. People produce more serotonin when they lack sleep, because serotonin is what makes people sleep. Therefore, sleeping more may reduce serotonin levels and thereby lower somebody's likelihood to develop dyskinesia.


14th July 2007 : New research

Bright light therapy reduces Parkinson's Disease symptoms

Chronobiology International [2007] 24 (3) :521-537 (Willis GL, Turner EJ.) Complete abstract

The objective of this study was to administer Light Therapy to Parkinson's Disease patients and observe the effects. Each patient was exposed to white fluorescent light for over an hour prior to the usual time that they went to sleep. Within two weeks, there was marked improvement in bradykinesia and rigidity in most patients. Tremor was not affected. Agitation, dyskinaesia, and psychiatric side effects were reduced.

Elevated mood, improved sleep, decreased seborrhea, reduced impotence, and increased appetite were also observed. There was a reduction of the dose of Parkinson's Disease drugs in some patients by up to 50% without loss of symptom control. Factors limiting the efficacy of Light Therapy included multiple disease states, emotional stress, treatment compliance, polypharmacy, advanced age, and predominance of positive symptoms. It's assumed that the effect would only occur on the days it is used. Light suppresses melatonin formation, which in turn lowers dopamine activity. As a lack of dopamine causes Parkinson's Disease, light is used to suppress the interfering effect of melatonin. For more information on Bright light therapy


13th July 2007 : New research


Archives of Neurology [2007] 64 (7) : 990-997 (Ritz B, Ascherio A, Checkoway H, Marder KS, Nelson LM, Rocca WA, Ross GW, Strickland D, Van Den Eeden SK, Gorell J.)   Complete abstract

Smoking has long been thought to lessen the likelihood of Parkinson's Disease. However, questions remained regarding the effect of age at smoking onset, time since quitting, and race/ethnicity that have not been addressed due to sample size constraints. This study analyses  a lot of previous research. An inverse relationship between smoking and Parkinson's Disease was confirmed. The lessening effect of smoking was greater in current smokers rather than past smokers. The effect was found to be dependent on the amount of cigarettes smoked. Reduced likelihood was observed for white and Asian patients, but was not seen in Hispanic and African American patients. They also found an inverse association both for smoking cigars or pipes and for chewing tobacco in male subjects. Importantly, effects seemed not to be influenced by sex or education. Differences observed by race and age at diagnosis warranted further study. However, what's better - Parkinson's Disease or Lung Cancer ?


2nd July 2007 : New research


European Neurology [2007] 58 (2) : 106-113 (Jimenez-Jimenez FJ, de Toledo-Heras M, Alonso-Navarro H, Ayuso-Peralta L, Arevalo-Serrano J, Ballesteros-Barranco A, Puertas I, Jabbour-Wadih T, Barcenilla B.) Complete abstract

This study examined the role of environment in the risk of essential tremor. People were assessed for family history of tremor, exposure to environmental products containing lead, mercury, manganese, solvents and beta-carbolines, and exposure to agricultural work, well water, pesticides, and cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.

Family history of tremor and exposure to agricultural work, pesticides, smelting, frosted glass, paintings, wheat, corn, and barley were more frequent in people with tremor. In a more extensive assessment, only family history of tremor and exposure to agricultural work and frosted glass remained significant. Time of exposure to agricultural work, wheat and barley was higher in people with tremor. Age at onset of tremor was lower in people with a family history of tremor and higher in patients exposed to iron-manganese alloys and alcohol. Time of exposure, but not total consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, was correlated with age at onset of tremor.


2nd July 2007 : New book


Anthony D.Mosley, Deborah S.Romaine

"The A to Z of Parkinson's Disease" presents the most current information pertaining to the complex issues and news-making topics relating to this disease, including etiology, symptoms, treatments, medications, surgeries, research, medical terms, coping and caregiving, living with Parkinson's disease, and much more. More than 600 accessible entries cover aspects of the medical, scientific, social, and lifestyle implications of Parkinson's disease. Appendixes include an extensive bibliography, a directory of key support groups and organizations, a glossary, and other valuable resources. For more information go to Book details



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